The Next Federal Agricultural Policy Framework

March 10, 2017

Canada’s current policy framework, Growing Forward 2, expires in March 2018. The federal government is working on replacing that policy. Today they released a report on the progress that is being made towards a new policy framework.

What makes us happy: Climate change, agri-food processing and public trust are explicitly defined in the policy framework as priority areas for the first time.

What makes us sad: There is absolutely no mention of the National Food Policy which this same government department is also working on at the exact same time. When we talk to our Canadian neighbours and friends, most define Agriculture as “producing food” so it is incredibly confusing that this new Agricultural Policy Framework does not prioritize or even mention the National Food Policy. According to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, “The development of a national food policy is complementary but distinct from the next agricultural policy framework”.

At first glance, here are some of the places where, if given the opportunity, organizations such as Hidden Harvest Ottawa could help grow Canada forward. Emphasis is our own.

Recommendation 3

The Committee recommends that the Government renew the AgriMarketing Program within the next policy framework

Recommendation 6

The Committee recommends that the Government increase attention to the food processing sector, including on-farm processing, by providing it with the support necessary to increase its productivity and improve its competitiveness to position Canada as a global food leader.

…such attention may help support the local food processors we love working with.

Recommendation 12

The Committee recommends that the Government, in cooperation with the agriculture and agri‑food sector, analyze the environmental and economic costs and benefits of environmental practices at various stages of the agri‑food production chain.

Recommendation 14

The Committee recommends that the Government support public trust of the agriculture and agri-food sector through focused efforts to increase robustness and confidence in assurance systems and regulatory systems, and financial support for public awareness activities that are grounded in scientific information.

Looks like there will be some low hanging fruit that organizations like ours can bite into when this Ag policy rolls out in 2018. Meanwhile, we will work on digesting this feeling that comparing Canada’s Agriculture Policy to Canada’s Food Policy is less like comparing oranges to apples and more like comparing certified organic ethanol jet fuel to a doctor’s prescription for an apple a day.

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